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YOU ARE HERE: HOME ► FEATURE FOCUS 

Feature Focus - February 2011 



ESQ 



Changes and Enduring Realities 

TAP Global Theological Immersion Trip to Thailand 2011 

by Rev. Sarah Kim 




Despite their unique approaches to understanding reality, Western and Eastern 
philosophers both agreed that life is all about the perpetual change. Change is a 
fact of life and there is no way to get around it — or is there? What I encountered in 
my second trip to Thailand on this global theological endeavor was both change 
and enduring realities of life. 



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Southeast Conference 

UNITED CHURCH of CHRIST 



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PROGRESSIVE 
RENEWAL 



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First, what was changed or what was different from the last trip in 2008 was the 
group with which I traveled. This time we had seven seminary students and a 
faculty member of Lancaster Theological Seminary along with our own seven 
participants from the Southeast Conference. The two groups merged beautifully, 
in liaht of their conscious efforts to collaborate, adant. and to exercise love and 



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Leader Link Feature Focus Southeast Conference SECUCC News 



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patience. Second, the Institute of Religion Culture and Peace's (IRCP) program 
had changed — the length was three weeks long with the inclusion of a special trip 
to Mae Sot, a small city in the northwestern border of Thailand that holds large- 
size Burmese Refugee Camps. To say the least, it was challenging for me to 
witness the living conditions of the refugees as they were without much prospects 
for change or hope. Third, my view of Thailand and its people had changed, only 
because I was able to understand better, deeper, and closer the second time 
around. These changes certainly made the trip experience much more meaningful 
and richer. 

What, then, are the enduring realities? These lie closer to the inner realms of the 
heart and the mind. In my view, they are our desires to "communicate" and "build 
relationships" through inter- and intra-faith dialogues. They are our desires to 
"resolve conflict" and "build peace" through mutual understanding and respect. 
They are our desires to love, laugh, and live in peace and in health. During the 
trip, one participant asked me, "So, what do we do with this [experience] when we 
go back?" I did not answer her right there and then, but my hope is that we all 
remember the enduring realities and commit to actualizing them wherever we are, 
whatever we are doing. 

Follow the continuing story in March when the global travelers will present their 
journals and more insight to experiences. 



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